It's not just Bollywood celebrities that cause a mini riot to take place whenever they give media bytes. In India, Lalit Modi pretty much has the same effect on mediapersons and their attendant cameras. The reason is obvious, of course. On the cricket scene, the stakes seem to be getting higher and higher every year and Modi is the man behind it all. At a packed conference, filled to the hilt with media persons, Modi revealed the details of the Champions Twenty20 League, a new international cricket tournament based along the lines of the UEFA Cup in Europe, where teams from the subcontinent will compete with each other for a $6 million winning booty. The league's logo was revealed at the conference.
Modi said, "In the Champions League Twenty20, I believe we have a concept that will inspire and motivate the future generations of club, state and county cricketers, while accelerating the development of the game globally. The stage is now finally set for the inaugural edition of the Champions Twenty20 and given the collaboration of our fellow cricket boards from Australia and South Africa and ESPN STAR Sports, I am confident that this will be a true global event the scale of which the cricketing world has not seen outside the World Cups."
Eight teams, including the reigning winners and runners up from the domestic T20 competitions in India (Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings), Australia (Western Australia Warriors and Victoria Bushrangers) and South Africa (Titans and Dolphins), plus the reigning T20 champions from Pakistan and England will contest a $6 million team prize booty. The eight teams have been divided into two groups of four each and will initially play each other on a league basis. The top two teams will qualify for the semi finals with the winners of Group A facing off against the runners up of Group B and vice versa, in the last four stage. The winners will clash in the finale to be played in Mumbai on December 10th, 2008.
ESPN STAR Sports, which paid $975 million for the exclusive, 10-year commercial rights for the Champions League T20 will have the rights to the TV, mobile, on-ground, Internet and title-sponsorship for the tournament. Modi said this ensured that there was no conflict of interest among sponsors and helped ESPN STAR better leverage its contractual obligations. The league will be played across three venues, namely Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore.